$1000 on-the-spot fines to be issued for breaches of coronavirus laws

Commissioner Mick Fuller at a media conference on Wednesday. Picture: AAP

Commissioner Mick Fuller at a media conference on Wednesday. Picture: AAP

Police will hand out $1000 on-the-spot fines to individuals found breaking new laws on gatherings and self-isolation.

Fines can apply to anyone failing to self-isolate for 14 days after returning from overseas and people who do not observe maximum numbers for gatherings.

Commissioner Mick Fuller said police had "already responded to dozens of reports of breaches from members of the community".

He encouraged people to report breaches of the rules to Crime Stoppers.

Mr Fuller said, following amendments to legislation, police could issue Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) to anyone found to be in contravention of a ministerial direction.

The on-the-spot fines are $1000 for individuals and $5000 for businesses.

They are additional to existing enforcement powers available to officers, which include issuing Court Attendance Notices with a maximum penalty of up to $11,000 and/or six months imprisonment for individuals.

Mr Fuller said the circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic "call for strong action - and police stand ready to respond".

"I'm encouraged that most members of the community are taking this issue seriously and are adhering to the government advice," he said.

"However, disturbingly, our officers have already responded to dozens of reports of breaches of ministerial directions from members of the community.

"This is astounding, and incredibly disappointing, as these people are putting themselves and the wider community at an unacceptable risk.

"The last thing we want to do is to have to use police powers to ensure compliance, but let me be clear - we have been using them and we will continue to do so."

Mr Fuller said patrols were being conducted in every police command area to "ensure people in public places are sticking to the rules".

"These patrols also form part of our ongoing work with retailers, to ensure calm and fairness at the checkouts," he said.

"I want to urge the people of NSW to stay safe and follow the official government advice.

"Now more than ever, we need to pull together and fight this virus as a community."

  • Crime Stoppers: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

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